An Apologia for Colossians 1:1-18
This is an excerpt from a letter I wrote giving forth an Apologia for the faith.
You use two Scriptures and I have no problem with the first two and I find no problem with you using them. However, you cite Colossians 1:15-18 and you fall into classical errors simply because you are not discerning the use of English grammar, let alone Greek grammar, which is how the NT was originally penned.
Let’s address your first classical error: Scriptures were not written as a hodge-podge in which we are allowed to lift them out of context as we so desire in order to prove our doctrinal inclinations. I’m glad you are trying to exegete the Scriptures; however, you have need of a teacher yet. This then entails that we should go back to at least the beginning of the chapter to establish what is going on in this personal letter that Paul is writing to the church at Colosse.
V1 Paul establishes his apostleship that it is by the will of God and introduces Timothy as well.
V2 Paul names who this letter is to be addressed: saints and faithful brethren in Christ at Colosse. He next blesses them with grace and peace, etc.
V3 Paul lets them know that he prays for them and thanks God…
V4 especially since they have faith in Christ Jesus and they love the saints.
V5 Paul reminds them of their hope which has been laid up for them, which had been proclaimed to them through the Gospel.
V6 The Gospel is bringing forth fruit and in them as well since they have known the grace of God in truth.
V7 Paul reminds them that they learned this through Epaphras their faithful minister of Christ.
V8 Paul tells them that Epaphras has told Paul and others of their love in the Spirit.
V9 Since the day that Paul heard the news, [What news? The news that the Gospel was bringing forth fruit in their lives], he has not ceased to pray for them and to desire that they might be filled with the knowledge of ‘his’ will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding. So who does ‘his’ refer to exactly? Let’s go backwards to v4 and we find the subject of ‘his’ which is Christ Jesus. How do we know this? Because what is bringing forth fruit in these saints’ lives? The Gospel and who is the Gospel proclaiming…none other than Christ Jesus.
V10 [what will be the purpose of them being filled with the knowledge of ‘his’ (Christ Jesus’) will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding?]. That you might walk worthy of the Lord (Jesus), unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God. [Because the Lord Jesus Christ came to announce the grace of God for reconciliation to God the Father by the shedding of his (Jesus’) blood.]
V11 Strengthened with all might [whose? Jesus’] according to ‘his’ [Jesus’] glorious power unto all patience and longsuffering with joy;
V12 Giving thanks unto the Father, who [God the Father] has made us meet to be full partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light:
V13 who [God the Father] has delivered us from the power of darkness, and has translated [moved] us into the kingdom of his [God the Father] dear Son:
V14 in whom [Jesus] we have redemption through his [Jesus] blood, the forgiveness of sins:
V15 who [Jesus] is the image of the invisible God….
So now let’s unpack verse 15….it is critical indeed for your understanding. So the verse tells us that Jesus is the IMAGE of the INVISIBLE GOD. Hmmm. Does God the Father have an IMAGE? The verse just tells us that HE is invisible and no one can see Him. So what does that tell us…except that GOD IS SPIRIT, even as John 4:24 tells us, and that God is seeking those who will one day be born again and be filled with His Spirit to worship Him perfectly. So now what does this tell us about Jesus Christ? If He is the IMAGE of God, it is saying that Jesus is SPIRIT too. If we think about the opening chapters of Genesis, what does God say about everything that He is making? It will REPRODUCE after ITS OWN KIND. Now, however, is this truly saying that Jesus was CREATED? NO! Why? Was God the Father created at some point in time? The Greek word for ‘first-born’ is πρωτότοκος and from this word, we get our English word ‘prototype,’ the first one in a series. So therefore, Jesus is the IMAGE OF GOD, and we are being made in Jesus’ image. How? We get born-again and we become SPIRITUAL BEINGS once again. This is what Adam and Eve were originally when God said in Genesis 1:26, “Let us MAKE man (their spirits) after ‘OUR IMAGE’ and then he FORMED their bodies and then He MADE their souls by blowing in the SPIRIT into their flesh and mankind became a living soul. So who was God talking to in Genesis? He states, ‘our’ (plural) image. Okay on to
V16 For by ‘him,’[who is ‘him’? It is the Lord Jesus and not God the Father. God in the Greek is in the genitive (possessive) case and not the nominative (subject)], were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers; all things were created by him [Jesus] and for him [Jesus]:
V17 and he [Jesus] is before all things, and by him [Jesus] all things consist.
V18 and HE [Jesus] is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the prototype from the dead; that in all he [Jesus] might have the preeminence.
Verse 18 clearly states who the ‘HE’ the passage has been talking about and so HE was not CREATED as you are thinking of creation, but rather Jesus is the prototype, or the first in a series of spiritual sons and daughters that we should be like HIM and thus be able to worship the Holy Father in spirit and truth, especially since after Pentecost we are filled with the Holy Spirit so that we may do just that: worship the Most High God (the Father) and His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, our Savior and Redeemer.